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Would self-driving cars solve the prevalence of drunk driving?

It's only natural for people to go out to bars, restaurants and parties and needing to get home when the night is done. However, if they've been consuming alcohol, they might be too drunk to drive and not even realize it. Taking to the roads while drunk is unlawful, dangerous and sometimes difficult for drivers to avoid when they're not thinking clearly.

Self-driving cars, however, would eliminate the human element that's to blame for this behavior. The other benefit of self-driving cars is the fact that they would reduce the need for police to go out patrolling for operating while intoxicated (OWI) drivers, and they would eliminate the many harsh consequences of a drunk driving conviction, which include:

  • Losing your license and needing to pay large fines.
  • The risk of imprisonment and jail time.
  • The risk of being charged with negligent homicide or OWI causing injury.
  • The loss of one's license for a year and having one's vehicle impounded for refusing to take a breath alcohol concentration (BAC) Breathalyzer test.
  • The mandatory installation of an ignition interlock system after a first-offense OWI conviction for OWI with a BAC of at least .15 percent, or for a subsequent OWI offense.
  • Having penalties doubled if police catch the driver intoxicated with a minor aged 15 or under in the car.
  • The risk of multiplied penalties if two previous OWI convictions are on the record and the BAC was over .17 percent for the most recent offense.

Unfortunately, self-driving cars aren't here yet, so drivers are advised to be exceedingly careful not to get behind the wheel while intoxicated. However, if you do find yourself accused of an OWI offense -- regardless of whether you were OWI or not -- you may be able to improve your situation by planning a strategic OWI defense.

Source: Wisconsin DOT, "Drunken driving in Wisconsin is...," accessed June 15, 2018

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